Can your luxury ski vacation be more eco friendly?
Simple changes you can make to ensure your luxury ski vacation is more environmentally friendly. What Chamonix is doing to combat climate change, and Amazon Creek's long term commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness.
Since the end of the 19th century, Europe’s highest mountain range, the Alps, has seen an average temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius, according to scientific journal Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research.
The effect of climate warming has been stronger on winter temperatures, making snow increasingly rare at lower-altitude ski resorts below 1,500 meters. For this reason, the effect of climate change on our ski seasons is never far from the headlines.
Climate change threatens ski resorts in Europe - "A one degree Celsius increase would reduce snow by ten per cent and plus 4°C would halve the number of snow-reliable slopes in Switzerland," - DECEMBER 2006
Glaciers in the Alps have already lost 30 to 40% of their area, and one half of their mass, in the years between 1850 and 1980; since 1980, another 10 to 20% of the ice has disappeared. The hot summer of 2003 alone accounted for a 10% loss of the remaining glacier mass. It’s estimated that by 2050, around 75% of the glaciers in the Swiss Alps will disappear - JAAKKO JÄRVENSIVU, 28 DECEMBER 2017
Alpine ski resorts could lose up to 70% of snow cover by 2100 - THE GUARDIAN, FEBRUARY 2017
In the Alps, ski resorts are desperately battling climate change – NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, DECEMBER 23, 2020
A future without snow? French ski resorts adapt to warming climate – REUTERS, MARCH 2020
Ski resorts are relying on artificial snow to keep them open through the winter - BUSINESS INSIDER, FEBRUARY 2020
The University of Grenoble found that almost half of the 169 ski resorts that have closed since 1951 (the first year to record a closure) went out of business due to lack of snow. It is clear we all need to be doing what we can do help save our winters.
WHAT IS CHAMONIX DOING?
In a recent article published by Compagnie de Mont-Blanc they stated that they ''anticipate a more ecological and responsible future for its mountain resorts''. But what does this mean? Well Mathieu Dechavanne, CEO of the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc which operates the ski lifts in the Chamonix valley, in Les Houches and in Megève (Haute-Savoie) has been quoted as saying ''Compagnie de Mont-Blanc are creating innovative and more responsible environmental projects, with the aim to reach carbon neutrality within 5 to 10 years". Most of the company's facilities are powered by hydroelectric power stations, its snow groomers still emit CO2 emissions. “Developments on the hydrogen fuel cell are progressing. We are beginning to have hybrid machines ” assures Mathieu Dechavanne.
The Flocon Vert is a quality label created in 2011 by the Moutain Riders association, ensuring a sustainable commitment of mountain tourist destinations. The Flocon Vert label was awarded in 2013 for Chamonix and has been renewed thereafter. For many years now, the Chamonix valley has been committed to limiting its environmental impact. Thanks to this label, actions have been developed around transport and governance.
WHAT ARE AMAZON CREEK DOING?
We have always operated with a drive for sustainability and environmental awareness, a big part of this is focused on supporting our local communities and reducing our carbon footprint. Here are some of the initiatives we are taking:
We are reducing our impact on the environment by shopping locally, especially for regionally sourced meats and cheeses, this helps us to reduce the carbon footprint of our luxury catering package, while providing our guests with seasonal produce to create the most memorable dining experiences. This year we will also be introducing a partnership with Chamonix’s own Big Mountain Brew company to provide some of the finest and locally produced crafts beers.
LUXURY BATHROOM PRODUCTS
By partnering up with L’Occitane for all our luxury bathroom products we can say with 100% certainty that all the packaging is recyclable and made from 100% recycled plastic, so no new plastic is produced in the manufacture of their products. L’Occitane are committed to using only sustainable ingredients in their products. By switching from the individual use to 330ml bottle we are also saving 22% plastic waste, not to mention the reduction in product waste at the end of each week.
KEEPING OUR CHALETS CLEAN
It takes a lot of cleaning products to keep our chalets clean, but by using washable cleaning clothes and refillable dispensers we have been able to reduce our cleaning product waste this summer by 50% and aim to increase this number to 75% by the end of winter. We have strict recycling protocol in place and are in the process of closing in all our open fires for more economical heating. But don’t worry they will all be glass surrounds so you will still be able to sit round the orange glow of the fireplaces.
Our mission is that by the end of 2022 we will have electric car charge points outside all of our luxury properties across Chamonix and Corsica. We are committed to only partnering with companies that have clear environmental and sustainability policies in place so that together we can work to protect our winters.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
GETTING TO CHAMONIX:
Offsetting your carbon
If you choose to travel by air don’t forget to offset your carbon. Some airlines provide you with the option of doing this whilst booking. Sharing a transfer from the airport is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
DURING YOUR VACATION:
There are a couple of ways you can help to protect the environment while staying on an Amazon Creek Ski Vacation in one of our Luxury Chalets in Chamonix.
In the chalet
- Opt not to have your towels washed mid-week. At Amazon Creek we offer a complete mid-week linen change with our Luxury Catered Package, but we will always check if you need your towels replacing first.
- If you are staying with us on a self-catered basis why not buy regional food and drink as much as possible – there are some incredible cheeses, cured meats and wines from the Alps that will have traveled far less food miles than international alternatives.
On the slopes
- Bring a reusable water bottle with you to take up the mountain. The tap water in Chamonix is fine to drink and a great way to help the environment is to cut down on the plastic bottles we use.
- Ask for no straw when you buy a drink: How to say ‘no plastic straw please’ in French: pas de paille plastique, s'il vous plait!
- Download the piste map on your phone so that you don’t need a paper one.
- Get yourself a Solar Powered Backpack - This new contraption means you’ll never have to plug in your iPod again. Charge as you ride with the any one of these great backpacks reviewed by Outside Pursuits. Renewable energy only accounts for around 8% of the power generated in Europe, and therefore anything that runs on electricity takes 90% of its energy from fossil fuels.
- Once in Chamonix you can use the local public transport system, which is free, or make use of our driver service transporting more people in one vehicle is much kinder to the environment! And if you fancy trying out one of the neighboring Swiss resorts for the day, the local train network can get you surprisingly far for amazingly little! The journey itself is also beautiful.
- We do everything we can to recycle as much of our waste as possible, and it’s easy for you to do when you are out of the chalet too. You will find recycle bins all around Chamonix and in every mountain restaurant you visit. It only takes a second to put your rubbish in the right bin but the positive impact on the environment will be long lasting.
- To keep Chamonix pristine, be sure to put your litter in the bin, whether you’re on the street or on the mountain. And if you’re a smoker, please don’t discard your cigarette butts. We suggest taking an old Vaseline tin or something similar to pop them in until you can find a bin.
YOUR SKI GEAR
Ethically produced and sustainably sourced ski clothing is becoming easier to find as everyone connected to our ski seasons pushes to do what they can to combat climate change. You should look out for thermals and socks made from organic cotton or bamboo fabric and or clothing made from recycled plastic. One of our favorite brands is OOSC Clothing.
If you don’t already own your own equipment, hiring is a good way to support local businesses and shrink your carbon footprint further by not adding to your baggage weight. When you are buying your own gear make the decision based on quality over price. Look for companies that use sustainable materials like responsibly sourced wood or recycled plastics and metals. Of the bigger brand names Salomon have made a name for themselves in recent years for adopting an eco-responsible attitude to their production methods including reducing their CO2 emissions, replacing toxic substances such as fibreglass with bamboo and implementing a recycling scheme for old skis and snowboards.
One thing to remember is that changes, no matter how big or small, do make a big difference. If you want to read more about how to make your ski holiday more sustainable you should take a look at the Protect Our Winters (POW) campaign which was started by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones.